How did you initially respond to working remotely?
When I found out that we could work remotely, I thought it was wonderful because I was planning on leaving London for a different lifestyle. The opportunity of remote working meant that instead of commuting five and a half hours every day, I could save money. I could also avoid spending a large portion of my day getting to and from work. Now I have more time, and I can integrate spending that time with my family. Work is work, and managing a workload doesn’t change, but it is nice to have your own space. There’s no pressure to look busy, so you can concentrate on delivering work to a high standard and achieving results.
My first experience of remote working wasn’t by choice. I broke my leg slipping on ice. A couple of weeks into my recovery I was able to work, but unable to get into the office. I hadn’t prepared for remote working however, so initially lost productivity by not creating a work routine. I would lose time getting ready in the morning, and wouldn’t get going until the afternoon. I‘d also lose time in the evening when home life began, creating extra stress for myself.
What did you find challenging, and how did you overcome those challenges?
I initially found that I wasn’t communicating with anyone, and that because people don’t see you every day, they can get busy and forget about you. I had to be more conscious of catching up with people, in the same way that I would in the office. It’s essential to take the time to have a conversation or see someone face to face. You can say what you want to say when you type something out, but it doesn’t mean someone has read it the way you want it to read. We meet up at least once a week, and this may go down to once a month, so it’s important to pick up the phone, or video chat with your colleagues, as well.
What advice would you give other remote workers?
I would advise anyone who is going to work from home to keep regular working hours in line with everyone else. You also need to ensure that you have a professional set-up, in a space where you can concentrate and feel comfortable. It’s nice to have the flexibility and create extra space in the day, but if you are more productive in one part of the day, you can maximise that productivity.
I’m more productive in the afternoon, and so won’t plan a shopping trip during that time. No one is watching you at home, and although you could be doing something boring like going through thousands of lines on an Excel spreadsheet, you have to remind yourself to keep working. It took practice, and I had to reorganise my day mentally.